Essen (dpa) – One of Germany’s leading car experts has warned that the growing number of diesel-powered cars on German roads could pose a threat to the environment.
Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the CAR Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen spoke of a ”problem for which there is virtually no solution.” His remarks are contained in a CAR study.
From the end of 2012 until the end of 2014 the number of diesel cars is expected to rise by 19.2 per cent to nearly 15 million vehicles, said the expert.
The car industry has been promoting diesels as being cleaner than petrol cars. Diesels are more efficient but compared to petrol cars with a catalytic converter they have higher emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.
Scientists say an excess of NOx and particulates can adversely affect urban air quality, leading to smog formation and global warming.
Dudenhoefer said only a small proportion of the diesels in use in Germany at the end of next year will comply with new tighter EU emissions rules known as Euro 6. This means that some 14.3 million non-compliant diesels will be in operation. Many of these cars are in the Sports Utility (SUV) category – heavy vehicles which use more fuel than standard saloons.
The EU Commission announced recently that it was not prepared to permit 33 of 57 German regions to exceed new nitrogen oxide levels for an extended interim period. Brussels said German authorities had not been able to show that the air quality in the country could be substantially improved by 2015.
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